UNITED NATIONS – Informed U.S. State Department sources tell WND that Washington has taken de-facto control of earthquake-ravaged Haiti.
“USAID has now taken control [of Haiti],” said one source. “We [the U.S.] are the only ones who can get things done.”
Vice President Joe Biden told reporters at Homestead Air Force Base, Fla., where relief efforts are underway, that Haiti is a nation “that has totally collapsed.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the first White House cabinet member to
arrive on the scene. She made a brief tour of the Port au Prince region on
U.N. relief efforts, however, have been criticized as “disorganized” and “haphazard” by U.S. sources.
The U.N.’s Haiti operations center was destroyed in last week’s quake. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s special representative, Hedi Annabi, who remained “missing” more than four days later, was found dead Saturday. Annabi was believed to be in the complex at the time of the quake.
In a statement released Saturday evening, Ban called Annabi the “gold standard”
of international civil servants.
UNICEF, which operated separately from the U.N. system, saw its headquarters survive, but was also severely impacted because many of its personnel were in the field at the time of the quake. A substantial number of those still remain unaccounted for.
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U.S. sources confirm to WND that Haitian relief efforts could easily surpass $1 billion in the next few months, much of that aid being financed by Washington.
The U.N. has already announced a $550 million international emergency fundraising drive.
Not only could the rescue and rebuilding efforts reach billions of dollars, but they could also take years to accomplish.
U.S. sources point out that even today, more than four years later, New Orleans is still rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina.
Meanwhile, in a hasty publicity move, Ban Ki-moon will fly this weekend for a brief one-day “tour” of Haiti.
It is not clear what Ban can do. U.N. sources tell WND that Ban will not venture beyond a few miles from Port au Prince airport.
He has no intention of trying to reach the city of Jacmel, which sources say is in worse shape than Port au Prince.
Ban’s special Haitian envoy, Bill Clinton, elected not to accompany the U.N. chief to Port au Prince. Speculation says that Hillary did not want to be “upstaged” by the former president.
Meanwhile, U.N. sources admit that part of the problem that now exists in Haiti squarely falls on the United Nations and the international community.
Virtually nothing of substance has been done to build a credible infrastructure in Haiti since the military government of Gen. Raul Cedras was overthrown by the Clinton administration military invasion in 1994.
More than 20,000 U.S. troops participated in the 1994 naval and air campaign.
The U.S. forced Cedras to flee the country, but since, Haiti has seen its “elected” governments vacillate between Jean Betrand Aristide and his political nemesis Rene Preval, resulting in a near political paralysis.
Preval saw his presidential palace collapse last week, fled to the Port au Prince airport (where he now resides) and has only made some carefully orchestrated “trips” into the city.
Preval, it was pointed out by U.S. officials, is president of a government that does not exist.
Coincidentally, CNN showed video on Friday of a collapsed and deserted Haitian parliament building.
Of more immediate concern is the expected influx of Haitian refugees into the U.S.
“Months and years” of continuous U.S. aid to Haiti was mentioned by President Barack Obama at the White House on Saturday. Obama announced that former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton will lead U.S. fundraising efforts to aid displaced Haitians. For President Bush, it was his first return to the White House since leaving office a year ago.
“They [Bush and Clinton] will send an unmistakable message to the Haitian people,” Obama explained.
“We are in it for the long haul,” Biden added. “It is going to take years.”